We grow additional wheatgrass for the Persian spring equinox festival, and see many of our Persian community
members at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market at this time of year. This is a wonderful chance to celebrate new beginnings! Happy Nowruz!
Nowruz is the celebration of the Persian New Year that dates back to the 6th Century B.C., occurs on the spring equinox, and is marked across the Middle East and Central Asia. It is also celebrated in India, particularly among the Parsi community. Nowruz means ‘New Day’ in Farsi, and the New Year is celebrated by diverse ethnicities and religions. A central feature of Nowruz is the emphasis on renewal, which includes a dish of growing wheatgrass (sabzeh) at the ritual table, and other symbolic items. These symbols represent affluence, fertility, love, health, and beauty.
Spring cleaning is another important part of Nowruz; having symbolic fires and special foods are also traditional. On the day of the celebration people share sweets, nuts, dried fruits and tea and visit friends and family. According to tradition, the thirteenth day after the festival is the time to spend picnicking and visiting outside together to savour nature. The bowl of wheatgrass from the ritual table may be discarded on this day as well.
The International Day of Nowruz was inscribed in the United Nations Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. It promotes peace, solidarity, reconciliation and neighbourliness.
Hopefully, you will get a chance to go outside and celebrate nature and Nowruz at the spring equinox!
Satoshi Abe. “Conceptions of Nature in Iran: Science, Nationalism, and Heteroglossia.” Journal of Anthropological Research, vol. 69, no. 2, 2013, pp. 201–223., www.jstor.org/stable/24393897.
Ali Shariati, and Mehdi Abedi. “Nowruz.” Iranian Studies, vol. 19, no. 3/4, 1986, pp. 235–241., www.jstor.org/stable/4310541.
Faegheh Shirazi. “The Sofreh: Comfort and Community among Women in Iran.” Iranian Studies, vol. 38, no. 2, 2005, pp. 293–309., www.jstor.org/stable/4311726.
United Nations, International Nowruz Day. http://www.un.org/en/events/nowruzday/
United States Institute of Peace, Iran Primer. http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2014/mar/19/nowruz-traditions-persian-new-year